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Thanks for putting this up, Don. Before anyone reads this, yes, this is only an opening scene to a larger thing. However, before it was the larger thing, this was actually the whole story as I envisioned it in my head. So, while it's obviously not a feature, it is a complete story right now. =)
From page one, I guessed that the contest was russian roulette, but you surprised me with an old-fashioned duel. I like the concept, sort of a low key spin on "The Running Man" where people place bets on the lives of others. New York seems like an odd choice for locale, however. Maybe fifty or a hundred years from now, but three years in the future? That kinda blew the concept for me. This seems like something that might take place in some desperate, money hungry country, but not the US in the very near future. Also, for a short script, you made it impossible to film with this choice of setting. Is a student filmmaker going to rope off Times Square for the big duel?
All of your set up and backstory is told with expository voice over. To me, this always seems like the easy way out for a writer. While the VO is going on, all we see is a dude packing his bags in a hotel. Not very interesting. I think you could have found a way to tell this story visually without relying on so much narration.
Glad I could surprise you somewhat, if not completely, Ryan. It's not three years. I forgot the exact math I put in, but it's about 2022 this takes place in. And, no. I don't write things that I intend to be filmed. I write because I can. Was it really that expository? I mean, it was all about the contest. And, even in that, I didn't really say much. You know, dialogue's what I'm not as bad at, so I stick to that rather than trying to fake like I can write anything else.
But, thank you for the read. Sounded like a thumbs down. I'll have to try harder next time. Lol. =)
While I didn't necessarily see the "gunslinger" aspect to this, like Ryan, after the first page, my mind went to "Running Man". While there is nothing wrong with that, I for one, never cared all that much for the movie. Granted I'm a big sports fan, but I like to think that we will never get to the point that guys hitting homeruns and making tackles won't be enough entertainment for us. So, the pessimistic nature of this particular piece isn't necessarily my cup of tea.
I din't have an issue with the V.O. which I thought were well written and fit the sort of dystopian feel of the piece, but I found that the dialouge didn't necessarily correlate. I guess that it felt to non-chalant, or contemporary, considering that this should be taking place in the future. I didn't feel like it melded with the V.O. IMO.
That said, I did enjoy the old school, throwback idea of two guys standing up to one another in a shoot out. I think that is a classic theme. As I write that, I realize that I'm kind of contradicting the first para, but as I said, I'm glad this is part of a bigger piece cause' I would like to see more of where it is going.
I was more interested in what happened after the gunshot. I think if you had used less voiceover, it may have been a stronger story. There just wasn't much happening. People tell me this all the time, and I finally believe them. No matter how cool your story is you need action to sell it . The twist at the end was okay.
Since this is part of a bigger piece, the voiceover may be less intrusive. Maybe then, I will find out what happened after the gunshot.
As you have pointed out, this is an idea to something bigger. I liked the idea of an old-fashioned duel in near-modern times. The way this opening scene played out, though, felt almost like a teaser trailer to me. The character explained in voice over the entire history over these few pages with an action at the end. The voice over described the gaming aspect which really wasn't expanded on with the duel scene at the end. I think once you expand this idea out, it can be a much more involving story.
Good luck with this one.
"Why don't we just...wait here for a little while...see what happens?"
You built this up remarkably well, the V.O kept us (me anyway) guessing until he got to Times Square before I figured what was going down. An intriguingly nihilistic vision you have here.
The notion of gambling being made fully legit in New York, the hints delivered by the V.O. in relation to this new mysterious game all worked well and held my attention. My only criticism is when you casually drop in "...so was murder" as if itís a mere minor detail. I know it comes at the end when the images are telling us all we need to know but I was like what the fu?k?! It felt like you were interjecting it purely for dramaturge as opposed to it actually making sense. The gambling I can buy and I do realise this is a high concept, hypothetical pretence but we need a reason as to why murder is suddenly "ok". You canít just slip it in like "oh by the way, you can kill your fellow man (or woman I presume), preferably in an old fashioned pistols at noon type scenario in front of the cameras" without offering some disturbing social trend or anomaly to explain why things have gone like this.
Again, I understand this is a short and you can't explain everything. You got a great concept here that demands expansion for it to be fully realised. A 5 pager, while providing a decent teaser, only leaves me with more questions then answers and Iíd like to find out more.
just read it - really liked the idea and the twist. Seems like there should be something in between the gambling legalization and the twist - murder was legalized too. Felt short, but just a little - a little in the middle.
Very nice though and original I think. I really liked the use of the VO. Almost can hear it.
Normally, I'm not against the VO but can be picky. Not in this case though, felt very natural.